Voting for the Students Associations elections opens this week (Wednesday, 8 April at midday). This is where you get to vote for who your student leaders are for the next two years, including your Students Association President, who will be the face of the OU Students Association and OU students. You will also be able to vote for a Deputy President, a number of Vice President roles with different responsibilities, Faculty Reps, Area Reps, and student trustees. Click here to see all of the roles.
With everything going on in the world, it’s understandable if you don’t have time to think about the Students Association elections. But for those of you who feel like you need a distraction and would value some semblance of normality, here are five reasons why voting in the elections can make a real difference:
1 Elected representatives are responsible for an organisation worth £millions
Have an influence over how the money is spent. The Students Association is a multi-million pound organisation, and elected representatives have a say in how that money is spent on services, events, clubs, societies, and staff. That means that you want people that you trust taking on these important roles.
2 Elected reps can make real changes to students’ lives and their university experience
OU students have a unique student experience due to the way the University delivers its courses, and with elected reps making important decisions about how money is spent, they can have a massive impact on your experience as a student with the university. Whether it’s the services, clubs and societies delivered by the Students Association, or lobbying the University for improvements on behalf of students, they can have a big impact -don’t leave it to someone else to decide for you.
3 A higher voter turnout provides elected reps with increased legitimacy when they are discussing issues in public and negotiating with the university
Elected reps bring the student voice to the University’s structures and senior leaders and often beyond, into public policy debates. Therefore, the more voters participate, the more legitimate our student leaders will be. The OU has students in every Parliamentary constituency in the UK, and the more of those students engage and vote in these elections, the more influential our student leaders’ voices will be both within and beyond the university.
4 Be represented effectively
If you are a member of a protected characteristic group such as disabled students, BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) or LGBTQ+, or if there are issues that you have a particular interest in, you can vote for the candidates who best policy pledges for you. So, voting gives you a much better chance of having your own views represented.
5 They work for you, the voters
Reps are not accountable to the University. They’re not accountable to Students Association staff. It’s the voters themselves who elected reps answer to. All of the candidates for all of the roles have produced manifestos, which means that you can hold them to account on the pledges that they have made during the election process.
Voting in the OU Students Association elections is easy!
It all takes place online, so you can do it from the comfort of your own home. You'll be sent an email from Civica this week telling you how to cast your vote. But remember, voting closes at midday on April 22, so make sure you don't miss out on your chance to have a say!
Click here to find out about all of the candidates standing in these elections so that you can decide who to vote for (all of the candidates have made election videos, if you prefer to find out about them that way!). Also, make sure that you share this article with people on your courses and in your clubs and societies so that we can get the best voter turnout possible.
Every vote matters. Your vote can make a difference!